March 2015 Newsletter
Office Phone: 415-554-6968
Saturday, April 25th
Bello Coffee & Tea
2885 Diamond Street
NOTE: Occasionally, we need to reschedule office hours. To ensure that you learn of any changes before making the effort to attend, please check with the office a day or two before or alternatively call the office to put your name on the office hours list so that we can notify you if any changes occur.
Join Me for Pride!
Please join me for the 45th SF Pride Parade on Sunday, June 28th. Don't miss out on all the colorful and outrageous fun that makes Pride a must-attend event every year. For those who have never marched in the Parade before, this will be an unforgettable experience. Friends, families, children and pets are all encouraged to join in the festivities. To join us in the celebration, please email your name, t-shirt size and mobile number to Adam Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org or call my office at 415-554-6968. Don't miss out on this fantastic, only in San Francisco celebration!
Scott on KQED Newsroom: Private Transit Services
I was recently on the KQED Newsroom TV Show to discuss the issue of private transit services, like Leap and Chariot, in San Francisco. The fact that these services are drawing customers tells us two important things. The first is that people prefer alternative modes of transportation for getting to work, which is a good thing for our transit-first city in that it encourages people to get out of their private automobiles. The second is that Muni is not reliable and robust enough meet the needs of transit riders at all times of day. This demonstrates the need to do more to improve public transportation in our city, including increasing investment to make our buses and light rail vehicles come more frequently, perform more reliably, and have more passenger capacity. You can watch the show here.
Seismic Retrofit In-Law Unit Legislation Passes
Increasing our housing supply isn’t just about constructing new buildings and developments. We also need to make better use of existing building stock by making it easier for people to create secondary units, also known as in-law units. Earlier this month, the Board of Supervisors unanimously passed my legislation to allow construction of new in-law units in buildings undergoing seismic retrofits. Adding new in-law units to a building while it is being retrofitted will be efficient and cost-effective for property owners by combining two projects into one, add new and more affordable housing stock, provide a financial benefit for owners who are being mandated to perform often expensive retrofits, and incentivize owners to perform voluntary retrofits.
Transit Funding: Prop B Funds Announced
Last November, the voters approved Prop B, the ballot measure I authored to tie transit funding to population growth, with funds dedicated to improving Muni reliability, capacity, and frequency, as well as improving street safety. The MTA just announced that this will lead to a $26 million increase in transit funding this year alone ($4 million more than anticipated), including the purchase of 18 new buses and construction of new street safety improvements. These real improvements are a great first step toward improving transit service and making our streets safer for everyone.
LGBT Seniors Long-Term Care Bill of Rights
Our LGBT seniors are the people who made our community what it is and fought for the rights we enjoy today. As they age, we have a responsibility to make sure they can continue to live with the dignity they deserve. Last week, we held a hearing on ground-breaking legislation I introduced with Supervisor David Campos that will make it illegal to discriminate against patients in long-term care facilities based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or HIV status. While general legal protections already exist, this legislation provides more detail about what constitutes discrimination. The legislation is based on a recommendation from the LGBT Aging Taskforce, which issued a detailed report last year on policy proposals to address the needs of our LGBT seniors, who are a particularly vulnerable segment of our population, placing them at greater risk for isolation, homelessness, poverty and premature institutionalization. This legislation will make our long-term care facilities more welcoming and reflective of the San Francisco values we all share. The full Board will vote on it next week.
Scott visiting Southwest Community Senior Center Luncheon
HIV-Positive People on Private Disability Transitioning to Social Security
We are encountering another serious issue with our seniors as those living with HIV are transitioning from private disability to social security at age 65, which often means significantly lower monthly payments. This shift creates a dangerous situation where an aging, vulnerable population may be suddenly faced with choosing between paying for medication and paying for housing. To better understand the impact of this issue, I requested a report from the Budget and Legislative Analyst to see how widespread the problem is and how it will affect residents and the City. I will be holding a hearing on this report on April 1st at the Budget and Finance Committee.
Requiring Health Warnings in Sugary Drink Ads
Last fall, a super-majority of San Francisco voters -- 56% -- voted in favor of a soda tax in order to address the major and growing health problems sugary drinks are causing. While we didn't reach the required 2/3 to pass the tax, the voters made it clear that they support policy efforts to reduce sugary drink consumption and to educate the public. I recently introduced legislation to require health warnings on posted sugary beverage advertisements, similar to health warnings required in cigarette ads. These ads, which will be required on all newly posted ads in San Francisco, will read “WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay. This is a message from the City and County of San Francisco.” Along with my measure, Supervisors Malia Cohen and Eric Mar introduced ordinances to ban sugary beverage advertisements on publicly owned property and prohibit the use of city funds for the purchase of sugary beverages. All of these measures will help to combat chronic diseases caused by the consumption of sodas and other sugary beverages in our community.
Scott taking part in a panel at the 4th Annual Childhood Obesity Bay Area Conference at UCSF
Specialty Tier Drug Pricing Hearing
Recently, a disturbing drug-pricing trend by insurance companies has been revealed -- specifically, the shift of many critical drugs to so-called "specialty tier" status. Drugs classified as "specialty tier" trigger dramatically higher co-pays, typically a significantly percentage of the drug's cost in addition to a standard co-pay. We've been hearing from constituents about picking up a monthly prescription only to discover that they had to pay $600 or more for a monthly refill as opposed to the typical $15 or $25 co-pay. I first learned about this shift when HIV medications were placed onto this tier by Kaiser Permanente. I reached out to Kaiser and met with them. Kaiser then announced that it was removing HIV drugs from the specialty tier. This was a major victory, and I commend Kaiser for taking this decisive step so quickly. However, the issue is much broader, in terms of the types of drugs impacted as well as the number of health plans at issue. This week I held an oversight hearing on the new drug classifications, to better understand how they are impacting residents of San Francisco and how we can put a stop to these dramatic cost escalations.
Corona Heights and Corbett Heights Monster Home Legislation Passed
Earlier this year, residents of Corona Heights and Corbett Heights came to me asking for help to ensure a strong, meaningful, and productive community process as new very large projects are considered in these neighborhoods. We are seeing a series of projects in the area where single-family homes are being tripled or quadrupled in size, without adding any new housing. To ensure a better process -- as opposed to the chaotic fights we were seeing on these projects -- I introduced temporary zoning controls to create a conditional use process when a home is being dramatically expanded into a much larger home or very large home is built on an empty lot without adding new units. This legislation, which was passed unanimously by the Board of Supervisors, does not ban anything. It just establishes a clear entitlement path for projects, and creates an incentive for all parties to work together to make positive additions for these neighborhoods.
Double Parking (Hearing and Call for Report)
I recently held a hearing at the Land Use and Transportation Commission to better understand the city’s enforcement, or lack therof, against double parking. This was a follow up to a hearing I held in 2013 on the impacts of double parking on our transportation system. Double parking affects traffic on our streets and just one double parked car can cause a traffic jam, delay an entire Muni line, and block an entire bike lane. We need to enforce against these traffic violations. At this most recent hearing, I was troubled by the MTA’s lack of improvement around enforcement efforts against double parking -- indeed, enforcement has declined -- and I asked the MTA to report back to me within 60 days on what the plan will be to improve enforcement.
Ensuring Fair Wages and Working Conditions for Shuttle Bus Drivers
Our commuter shuttle program -- which provides many benefits by allowing residents to get to work without driving -- has been the subject of a lot of conversation, but one area we haven’t heard as much about is the men and women who drive these buses. These are hard jobs with long hours, and we need to do what we can to ensure that they have good working conditions. I authored a resolution at the Board of Supervisors to request that the MTA, in issuing permits to shuttles to use Muni bus stops, consider whether the shuttle provider has achieved "Labor Harmony" with its drivers. This should be part of our broader commuter shuttle program, which keeps cars off our roads, pollution out of our air, and is helping San Francisco be a transit first city. You can read an op-ed I write on this issue here
Scott visiting students at Clarendon Elementary School
Ensuring Our Kids Get Great Math Educations
Our public schools should be pushing students to succeed in all areas, particularly when it comes to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) subjects. STEM is a vital part of our current and future economy, and we need to be sure that our students are prepared to take part in the economic opportunities in our city and elsewhere. That is why I wrote a letter, along with Supervisor Katy Tang, requesting the San Francisco Unified School District work reconsider a recent policy change leading to the elimination of its accelerated math program for 8th graders. You can read the letter here. While I respect that the School District did not make this move without a thoughtful process, I’ve heard from many parents who are concerned about how this will put their children at a competitive disadvantage in preparing for the new economy.
Paramedic Firefighter Douglas Mei
Animal Welfare and Control Commission Honoree
At the March 19th Animal Welfare and Control Commission, I helped honor paramedic firefighter Douglas Mei for his rescue of a cat during a recent fire. The fire, at 15th and Church, led to the building's safe evacuation of the residents, but Otterpop the cat was trapped inside. Paramedic Mei went into the smoke-filled building, rescued the cat, and applied first aide to the non-responsive cat. He revived the cat, who's now doing well after significant veterinary care due to smoke inhalation. Thank you paramedic Mei for keeping our residents safe and going above and beyond.TECA Fire Relief Fund
On January 28th, the building fire in the Mission dramatically changed the lives of seven Thomas Edison Charter Academy (TECA) children and their families, destroying all of their belongings and rendering them homeless. Despite the recent crisis these seven students are proving their strong character at TECA by smiling, engaging in the classroom, and remaining hopeful even in the face of immense challenges. They are truly an inspiration and, while they will not ask for it, they are in need of help. Although no one can replace a family pet, cherished family photos, or provide immediate housing to these families, a donation to this fund can make rebuilding their lives a bit easier. Click here
for more info. Help support these students and their families who have not only lost their home but are suddenly facing an uncertain future.
Pink Saturday, the street party that takes place every year on Castro Street the evening before the San Francisco Pride Parade, had been in jeopardy after the previous organizers of the event, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, informed the community they would not be putting on the event this year. The Sisters produced the event for more than 20 years and definitely deserve a break. On March 19th, we announced that San Francisco LGBT Community Center will step in to produce Pink Saturday. The Mayor’s Office and I worked to find a community partner to take on the organizing role, which led to the identification of the Center, a non-profit which serves the San Francisco LGBT community. I want to thank the Center for taking on this role. I, along with the Mayor's Office and city departments, will provide strong support to ensure that the event is safe and a success, including ending the event a few hours earlier and investing in increased security.
Exciting progress has happened over the past month at the construction site. The grass sod has been installed across 95% of the north side. The old clubhouse and restroom building has been removed, and the contractor is now working on installing the pathway that will link the playground to the 19th Street promenade. Universal access in the park is an important project goal that will be met very soon. Finally, the sports courts have their first coats of paving and all of their lights are now placed. Additional coats of paving will be installed in the next few weeks, the courts will be striped, and the fence will be attached to the poles. To see recent progress photos and watch videos of the sod being installed, visit the Recreation & Park Department’s website here.
Scott with Supervisor Katy Tang, Department of Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru, and Mayor Ed Lee at a Community Clean Team Event in the Sunset
Guerrero Median Greening
The Guerrero Median Greening Project is coming along. These medians between Market and 21st Streets are at varying stages of completion. Some, like the block between 20th and 21st Street, are complete with trees and plants installed, while others, like between 16th and 17th Street, are currently still bare. DPW is looking for volunteers for each of the blocks between Market and 21st Streets to help with installation and ongoing maintenance. If you’re interested in volunteering or have any questions about the project, please contact Jerad Weiner, Community Programs Manager at SF Public Works, at email@example.com or (415) 595-6933.
24th Street Urban Village Streetscape Project
Noe Valley’s Main Street is moving forward in the implementation of its Urban Village Plan. Construction for the 24th Street Urban Village Streetscape Improvement Project is progressing and new bus bulb construction is now complete at Noe and 24th Street. The scope of the streetscape project includes three bus-bulbs with site furnishings at two intersections: one on 24th and Noe Streets and two on 24th and Castro Streets. Decorative crosswalks will also be installed at 4 intersections along 24th Street: at Castro Street, Sanchez Street, Noe Street and Church Streets. This project is an inter-departmental collaboration between SF Public Works and SFMTA and will improve pedestrian safety, transit efficiency, and beautify the corridor. Construction at 24th and Castro Streets was delayed a bit due to the procurement of a critical part for fire hydrant valve, but this part has now been shipped and project is back on track for completion in April 2015.
Scott with Senator Mark Leno celebrating Chinese New Year
Military Health Project SF Launch Party
Wednesday, March 25th
Virgil's Sea Room, 3152 Mission Street
Join the Military Health Project for their San Francisco Launch Party on March 25th at our host venue Virgil’s Sea Room! In order to enhance service to Military and Veteran community, the Military Health Project has chosen to broaden their focus beyond mental health to encompass every facet of health care. They will do this by continuing to advocate for national, statewide and local solutions to address the unique needs of our military communities. They will also launch a series of service-based programs to provide direct assistance.
San Francisco General Hospital Job Fair
Saturday, March 28th
9:30am-12:30pm and 1:30-4:30pm
Laguna Honda Hospital, 375 Laguna Honda Blvd
As part of the San Francisco General Hospital recruitment efforts, a job fair targeting Acute Care Registered Nurses will be held on 3/28/15 at Laguna Honda Hospital. This job fair will provide interested candidates an opportunity to learn about careers at SFGH and information about the application process.
SF LGBT Center Soiree
Saturday, March 28th
City View at Metreon, 135 4th Street, Suite 4000 (4th Floor)
The Center’s most important fundraising event directly funds services supporting the most vulnerable members of the LGBT community, tackling transgender employment discrimination, youth homelessness and affordability. The evening will include a futuristic atmosphere sure to dazzle with performances, entertainment, silent auction, food and drinks.
Glen Park Association Quarterly Meeting
Wednesday, April 1st
Glen Park Recreation Center, 70 Elk Street
Join Supervisor Wiener for the Glen park Association’s Quarterly meeting.
Scott with Jim Lazarus, Fiona Ma, Mark Buell, and Dr. John Maa
Guerrero Street Median Greening Plant Installation
Saturday, April 4th
15th-16th Streets and 16th to 17th Streets
San Francisco Public Works will be providing tools, plants, and materials for the planting. Please bring work clothing, water bottle, and leave valuables at home. Please spread the word and let your neighbors know about this opportunity to participate in greening the neighborhood. Please contact Jerad Weiner at firstname.lastname@example.org or (415) 595-6933 with any questions you may have.
2015 Health & Safety Fair - Scam Prevention and Personal Safety Workshop
Saturday, April 4th
On Lok Lifeways, 225 30th Street
The scam prevention and personal safety workshop will be comprised of representatives from the San Francisco Police Department, San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, United States Postal Service, Food and Drug Administration, and Social Security Administration and will present the different scams and fraud that are within their areas of jurisdiction.
Bring Your Own Big Wheel
Sunday, April 5th
20th and Vermont Streets
Head on over to Portrero Hill on Easter Sunday with your Big Wheel to race down San Francisco’s most crooked street. The first heat is just for kids 12 and under then after that it’s open to anyone 18 and over willing to take the risk.
Walk to Work Day
Thursday, April 9th
18th and Castro
Walk to Work Day is a fun and festive day to encourage the most healthy, sustainable form of transportation: Walking! Anyone can participate by walking just 15 minutes.
Fiesta en el Zocolo
Friday, April 10th
James Lick Middle School (exterior yard), 1220 Noe Street
There will be a display of art from our Visual Arts Department, along with performances by the JLMS Band and Dance students. This is a community event and there is no cost to attend. Food is available for sale, and our Band director's band, Soul Society, will be providing live music after the student performances. We hope you are able to join us for this fun event!
Scott celebrates St. Patrick's Day with Assemblymember David Chiu, Board President London Breed and Supervisor Julie Christensen
Union Street Easter Parade & Spring Celebration
Sunday, April 5th
10:00am-5:00pm (Parade begins at 2:00pm)
Union Street between Gough and Fillmore Streets
San Francisco’s annual Spring Celebration & Easter Parade is not your average street fair or formal parade. It is best described as wonderful, wacky, elegant and fabulous, with everything from roller-blading cows and creative self-propelled mini-floats to garden areas, sophisticated fashions and beautiful classic and art cars.
Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival
April 11th-12, & April 18th-19th
The 2015 Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival now celebrating its 48th year, is one of California’s most prominent celebrations of Asian traditions. Each year, over 200,000 people attend this dazzling display showcasing the color and grace of the Japanese culture and the diversity of the Japanese American Community. There will be food booths, cultural performances, martial arts, live bands, the annual Queen Program, and more.
Sunday Streets Bayview
Sunday, April 12th
This will be Sunday Streets sixth year visiting the Bayview and Dogpatch neighborhoods. With over three and a half miles of car-free space, this is one of the longest Sunday Streets routes and a great opportunity to explore San Francisco neighborhoods by bike.
Cesar E. Chavez Parade & Festival
Saturday, April 18th
10:00am-5:00pm (Parade begins at 11:00am)
Parade: Dolores and 19th Streets
Festival: 24th Street between Street and Bryant Streets
The annual Cesar E. Chavez Holiday Parade in San Francisco has become a significant event in the Mission drawing a diverse crowd of participants and attendees from different demographics and cultures.
Scott meets with the College Democrats of SF State during the Lunar New Year
Saturday, April 18
DogFest is a celebration of dogs and kids benefitting SFUSD McKinley Elementary School, a K-5 public school at Castro and 14th Streets. The festival offers something for dogs, kids, and parents of both breeds.
Openhouse Spring Fling
Sunday, April 26th
Four Seasons Hotel, 757 Market Street
Please join Openhouse for their 15th Anniversary Celebration at the annual 2015 Spring Fling This wonderful fundraising event supports Openhouse and its mission to enable San Francisco Bay Area lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) seniors to overcome the unique challenges they face as they age by providing critical housing, direct services, and community programs. Openhouse works to reduce isolation and empower LGBT seniors to improve their health, well-being and economic security.
How Weird Street Fair
Sunday, April 26th
How Weird is a menagerie of attractions, including a world renowned music festival featuring 10 stages of different styles of dance music, an open air art festival filling an expanded Art Alley, a unique market of interesting vendors and delicious food, and a platform for performers of every type. Join thousands of people in colorful costumes from around the world, who have come together to celebrate peace and have fun.